2020-10-03 04:48:21 UTC
Wiki editors are rostering the demise from cancer at 84 the Hall of Fame right-hander on Friday in his hometown of Omaha.
Gibson's death, incidentally, comes barely a fortnight after that of ANOTHER St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer, Larry Wilson, the FOOTball free-safety phenom whose Number 8 the now-Arizona-based franchise retired.
But back to baseball:
The only World Series game I've ever attended INSIDE a ballpark--doesn't count that I was OUTSIDE Fenway in 1975 for Games 6 and 7 against the Reds--was Game 6 in 1968. THAT twice-rain-delayed 13-1 Wednesday afternoon Tigers' rout of the Cardinals beneath The Arch in downtown St. Louis now is forgettable to even a lot of serious Series fans I've talked to about it over the decades. (Even though that soggy non-contest DID afford me the privilege of witnessing--from the right-field far upper deck aside good ol' Mom to my left--Tiger Jim Northrup's grand slam over the right field wall. It was only the twelfth slam in Series history, and part of that monster Tiger 3rd inning which sealed the Red Birds' doom.
But the 1968 Series game EVERYONE, even St. Louis-who? fans, remembers is Game 1 during that Tiger 7-game edging of the Cards. It too was at Busch Memorial, but with Gibson pitching on an especially sweltering afternoon. Somethin' tells me Denny McLain, fresh off his historic 31-win season, was ALSO starting Game 1, but Gibson was so darned intensely overpowering throughout that Game 1 that I right now truly can't remember who the Tigers put up against him!
In any case, Gibson set a Series strikeout record that day, and I believe he also shut out the Tigers. (I believe an NBC broadcast of it is on YouTube, with Harry Carey and Kurt Gowdy doing booth time?)
Oh, and for the last half-century I've been glad Dad allotted to me that maybe-never-to-be-played Game 6 ticket, inasmuch as Dad's ticket-supplying pal in St. Louis had only two pair for him, for Games 1 and 6. Which let my quiet, under-heralded father Lewis Stibal witness that truly historic Bob Gibson Game 1 performance next to his always-loving bride Audrey, rather than enduring his loudmouth younger son (who at age 14 may well have then* been at his most insufferable ever).
* Well, except maybe for 2020.